CervicalCheck: Family members have medical cards extended by five years

It had been expected Cabinet would agree a three-year extension for dependants of those affected by controversy

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly brought a memo to Cabinet  to extend the medical cards

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly brought a memo to Cabinet to extend the medical cards

 

The Government has agreed to extend the medical cards of family members of women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy by five years.

It had been expected the Cabinet would agree a three-year extension to medical cards of dependants and family members of the women, but a source said the Government felt a three-year extension was not enough.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly brought the memo to the weekly Cabinet meeting to extend the cards, which were due to expire.

The medical cards are for dependants or family members of affected women. Cards held by the women themselves do not have an expiry date. They were issued on an “administrative basis” by the HSE from May 2018 and had a three-year expiry date attached to them.

The cards had been issued as part of a package of supports for women and their families. Just under 1,100 dependants hold cards with expiry dates.

The move comes after it emerged last month that the CervicalCheck Tribunal has yet to receive a claim more than two months after it started work and two years after the Government decided to set it up.

The tribunal is to conduct an “outreach programme” to ensure “the public is informed of its existence” and how it plans to conduct its proceedings.